December 9, 2019

God was talking about sex before anybody else. And His very first words about sex said, “Yes!”

The Almighty Maker says, “Yes!” to sex as an identity: “‘Let us make man in our image’… male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:26a, 27b). The Heavenly Father says, “Yes!” to sex as an activity: “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28a). Jesus echoes and amplifies the affirmative: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Mark 10:7-8a). And the Holy Spirit pours forth the “Of course!” and “Indeed!” from the mouths of His prophets—“Rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18b)—and His apostles—“as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies” (Ephesians 5:25b, 28a).

To be sure, the Lord God has a warning word of “No” about sexuality: “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:27; James 2:11). But He only ever says “no” because He’s saying “Yes!” to something better. “For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you … was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes. For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20a). The boundaries He establishes serve not to forbid any of sexuality’s blessings but to gather its goodness into a single setting so that nothing deprives the marriage bed of its rightful delight.

Recent generations of Christians have successfully emphasized God’s “no” about sexuality. Lutherans also have instructed especially our young people to refuse pornography, premarital sex, perversion, and promiscuity. But what awaits us inside of marriage? Why do male and female matter? What has God made my body to receive? How does He mean for my spouse and me to share them? Certain voices of our society are encouraging adolescents to fill in the blanks and discover their individuality through sexual experimentation. And this pressure is producing widespread despair while also suggesting death as a solution. In a cultural moment confusing license with excellence and mistaking rights for righteousness, we must not only shun the darkness but also shine the light and celebrate God’s “Yes!” about sex. After all, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ that brings forth the new, abundant, and everlasting life.

So, here are nine ways “leading a chaste and decent life” involves saying “Yes!”:

  1. Relinquishing the lust means relying entirely upon a better Lord. Since He made, is saving, and maintains this body and life, His prohibitions and promises concerning sexuality provide rest.

  2. You can resist the immediate opportunity because you’re entrusting yourself to an ongoing intimacy—companionship and support instead of just stimulation and climax.

  3. You refrain from the spontaneous because you’re readying for the security. What God joins together, no mistakes or imperfections may render asunder.

  4. You may forfeit the simply chemical and hormonal because you’re preferring a context and a wholeness. Home and family, help and refuge, repetition and routine raise intercourse from an occurrence to a condition.

  5. You abstain from the arousal because you are engaging an unconditional acceptance. Confession, forgiveness, reconciling, and adapting transform love-making into self-giving.

  6. You get to abandon the satisfaction because you’re embracing reciprocal servanthood and sharing: for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, in prosperity and adversity—not just more comfortable but more fulfilling.

  7. You avoid the mere consent because you’re inviting a full communion, making contact between more than bodies, intertwining more than limbs: lives and selves, joys and sorrow, memories and dreams, ambitions and labors.

  8. You will decline the excitement because you’re developing the delight. Smiles and laughs born in so many common experiences that make the one night inconceivable without the one flesh.

  9. And you let go of the using because you’re laying hold of the uniting. Till death do you part, and not even that, for the resurrection itself will elevate your relationship—and all others—to perfection forever!